Degree of Doctor


A degree of Doctor is obtained after the research student has completed an educational programme of 240 credits in a subject of education at the third level of higher education.


Knowledge and understanding
For a degree of Doctor research students must
  • demonstrate broad knowledge in and a systematic understanding of the field of research, together with deep and up-to-date specialist knowledge in a defined part of the field or research; and
  • demonstrate familiarity with scholarly methods in general and with methods in the specific field of research in particular.

Scholarly essay (doctoral dissertation)

For a degree of Doctor the research student must have received a passing grade on a scholarly dissertation (doctoral dissertation) worth at least 120 credits.

Skills and abilities

For a degree of Doctor research students must
  • demonstrate an ability to engage in scholarly analysis and synthesis and in independent, critical examination and assessment of new and complex phenomena, issues and situations;
  • demonstrate an ability to identify and formulate issues, critically, independently and creatively, and proceeding with scientific precision, and to plan and, using appropriate methods, conduct research and other advanced tasks within specified time limits, and to scrutinise and evaluate such work;
  • demonstrate, in a dissertation, their ability to make a substantial contribution to the development of knowledge by their own research;
  • demonstrate an ability to present and discuss research and research results with authority, in dialogue with the scholarly community and society in general, orally and in writing, in both national and international contexts;
  • demonstrate an ability to identify their need of further knowledge; and
  • demonstrate a potential to contribute to the development of society and support other people´s learning, both in the field of research and education an in other advanced professional contexts.

Judgement and approach

For a degree of Doctor research students must
  • demonstrate intellectual independence and scholarly integrity and an ability to make ethical assessments relating to research; and
  • demonstrate deeper insight into the potential and limitations of scholarship, its roles in society and people´s responsibility for how it is used.


For a degree of Doctor with a certain area of specialisation more precise requirements are also to apply, as determined by each higher education institution itself within the framework of the requirements in this qualification description.

Local qualification description

Aims of the doctoral programme

The aim is that a person who graduates from the doctoral programme at Chalmers shall:

- be able to formulate scientific questions

Doctoral students should be trained in formulating scientific questions within their subject area and thereafter work according to an established plan towards achieving preset objectives. The aim could be to prove or disprove an established hypothesis. It could also involve the development of a theory, model or method which is tested and validated.

This objective also means that the students shall have acquired an overview of the field of research.

- be able to pursue research by applying scientific research methodology and by placing the results in a broader context

To create new knowledge it is required that the doctoral student is trained in, and thus acquires, a good understanding of scientific research methodology.

The term 'broader context' means that the doctoral student shall learn to understand the relevance of his/her research results, both within and outside his/her discipline, and their significance to human beings and society.

- be able to critically evaluate his/her own research and the research of others

During the course of the doctoral programme the doctoral student shall gradually learn to assess scientifically the relevance of his/her results as well as results published by other researchers.

This could take place by the doctoral student at the beginning of his/her studies receiving help to assess his/her results and comparing them with published results in order to then assume greater responsibility for the publication of his/her own results.

- be able to co-operate effectively in interdisciplinary research groups by adopting an open approach to other scientific areas

Many scientific issues which are important to the development of society require co-operation between researchers from different scientific disciplines. Often new research areas emerge at the interface between the basic disciplines.

The doctoral student should therefore be stimulated in different ways to make contact with researchers in other areas. This could, for example, take place by attending seminars at other departments or faculties, by choosing courses in another area or by ensuring that the doctoral student has an assistant supervisor in another scientific discipline which complements the research task in question.

- be able to mediate knowledge in a pedagogical way

To be able to communicate clearly, both in writing and verbally, and within and outside one's own research culture, is a self-evident objective for the doctoral programme.

The doctoral student shall during the course of the programme learn to write scientific publications (cf. the objective of being able to critically evaluate one's own research and the research of others). The doctoral student should also be given the opportunity to practise writing articles within popular science for a broader circle.

The doctoral student should also be given regular training in how to teach, how to present verbally the results of researchers and other specialists and how to explain concepts and issues within his/her subject area to persons without an academic background or persons with a different academic background. It is therefore important to provide the doctoral student with the opportunity to practise the languages used within and outside the student's research culture. This takes place, for example, by attending undergraduate courses, active participation at seminars, both in-house and external, and the opportunity to present research results at international conferences.

- Be able to adopt an approach that is in full compliance with research ethics.

Each researcher should feel responsible for ensuring that the scientific issues which he or she formulates are in harmony with nature and in the best interests of mankind. A researcher may not intentionally and in a misleading manner deviate from the scientific requirements or wilfully breach generally accepted ethical norms.

One of Chalmers' tasks is to mediate norms regarding research ethics to the doctoral student. This takes place by providing courses for them and their supervisors and by creating fora for discussions regarding problems related to research ethics.

- Be able to lead research activities

Many PhD graduates will in their future professional work be charged with the task of leading others, e.g. as a project manager or as a supervisor for a doctoral programme. The doctoral students should therefore be given the opportunity to prepare for managerial tasks by, for example, taking part in the supervision of degree projects and other projects on the undergraduate level or as a support person for a younger doctoral student. Basic training in project management should be available to all doctoral students.

Degree designation

The degree designation is degree of Doctor of Philosophy. If a first degree has been taken at a faculty other than an engineering faculty, a prefix is used that corresponds to the faculty at which the first degree was taken.

Page manager Published: Tue 09 Jun 2015.